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Auntie Diluviana: Put down the cards and find a place to lend a hand

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Posted on: February 15, 2014

Dear Auntie,

I retired a year ago and am having trouble filling my days. I play cards once a week and I used to love shopping, but on a limited retirement income that opportunity is severely restricted. I want more. Any ideas?

Bored on Buchanan Street

Auntie Diluviana
Auntie Diluviana

Listen up, all you recently retired folk: It’s time to shutdown the computer solitaire and get started on the next chapter of your life.

An excellent way to fill your extra hours is to volunteer to help others in the community. With a volunteer job, you have the satisfaction of serving others, meeting new people and perhaps doing things you’ve never done before.

There are lots of volunteer opportunities right here in Hyattsville. Here is just a sample.

The Hyattsville Library uses volunteers to shelve books. A library volunteer chooses the number of hours and the time and dates of when he or she can volunteer.  And the work isn’t difficult: Auntie has been doing it for years! Stop by the library at 6530 Adelphi Road and fill out an application.

Schools use volunteers too. Hyattsville Elementary, for example, now needs volunteers who can tutor first and second graders in reading and math during school hours. For details, call Mosi Harrington at 301.779.6213.

Hyattsville Aging in Place (HAP) the all-volunteer organization that helps older Hyattsville residents also needs volunteers now.  There is an acute need for volunteers who can drive during the day, HAP says, because there are many, many calls for rides to medical appointments. Those who volunteer are not committing to any particular task. When a driver is needed, HAP puts out an email request to all volunteers to find one that is available and willing to serve that day and time. To learn more, call 301.887.3101 or email ha******@gm***.com.

Another local organization that makes use of volunteers is the Hospice of the Chesapeake, an organization that provides health care, with a focus on palliative care, to the terminally ill in Prince George’s and Anne Arundel counties. Patient-care volunteers provide companionship to patients and a respite for their caregivers.  There are other volunteer jobs too, such as organizing fundraising, administrative support, and providing counseling to grieving family members. Volunteers must first undergo a training course. You can learn a lot more about the Hospice of the Chesapeake (and download an application) at its terrific Web site at http://www.hospicechesapeake.org. Potential volunteers can also call 301.499.4500.

Our local churches also need volunteers for the good works they do. Our local churches also need volunteers for the good works they do. Every Thursday, St. Jerome’s Cafe serves about 50 hot home-cooked lunches in the parish Gold Room (5205 43rd Avenue). The cafe, which started in 1991, is staffed and run by teams of volunteers who shop, cook, deliver and serve the meal on a rotating basis. To join them or donate food-pantry items, please contact Terry Enfield at 301.864.9260 or te******@kk****.com.

The Lutheran Mission Society operates the Compassion Center at Redeemer Lutheran Church (3799 East West Highway), which offers food, used clothing, housewares and other items, as well as spiritual support to folks in need. Michelle Brinson, the project’s coordinator, said there is always a need for volunteers, especially on Fridays and Saturdays from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. Among the chores for volunteers are cleaning donated housewares, packing food, and sorting clothes. The program also has “greeters” at the front door.

When not greeting customers, volunteers “can sit there and knit or play Sudoku or whatever,” Ms. Brinson said. “It’s not excruciating.” Those interested in volunteering should call Ms. Brinson at 301.277-2302, ext. 22.

The First United Methodist Church has a need for volunteers at its immigration clinic, which offers immigrants legal services, education, and advocacy on the second Saturday of the month. Volunteers greet clients, fill out intake forms, and chat with them as they wait to see attorneys. Being bilingual is not required but is helpful. To volunteer, call Cindy Harding at 301.927.6133.

The City of Hyattsville uses volunteers in a variety of positions, from helping with city events to removing non-native invasive plants from city parks.  Colleen Aistis, volunteer coordinator for the city, said the city places volunteers in positions appropriate to each volunteer. So no need to worry about heavy lifting. The city will find a place for you! Call the volunteer office at 301.985.5057.

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